He’s a guy who knows how to dream, even if he doesn’t know exactly where the future will take him. With his stunning composition and production skills, it’s no wonder why his music reminds me of that of greats like Madeon and Porter Robinson.
I had the great pleasure of chatting with 19 year old musician and producer, Daydreamer. We spoke about early beginnings, finding your personal and musical identity, and reaching for your dreams.
I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? What made you want to start making music and get into production? How have things changed since then?
I’m currently 19 years old, but I’ve been doing things with music ever since I was very young. I loved playing around on the piano when I was really young and eventually moved on to piano lessons when I was maybe 4 or 5. My mother was always playing classical music so I’ve always had an appreciation for music of that sort. I started to write small piano pieces when I was around 7 and just loved to try to create anything musical whenever I could.
When I was 10 my world was changed when my dad brought home the Cosmic Gate album, Rhythm & Drums. I was so fascinated by these strange electronic sounds I’d never heard before. I almost immediately got on the internet and tried to find more of it wherever I could. Eventually I found the genre hands up and was in love with it. It was just so cheesy and happy. I stalked euro-dance forums and found so many interesting artists. But I never actually made any electronic music until I was about 12.
I discovered FL Studio and was hooked right away. Since that point I’ve gone through so many genres, aliases, and ideas. Daydreamer is pretty much me finally just sitting down after a long time bouncing around and just letting things happen.
What is your approach when you start a new track? Do you have a workflow process that helps you get in the studio and get things done?
My favorite approach is when I have an initial idea and I go, “I don’t know what I’m gonna do, where I’m gonna go with this, or how I’m gonna do it. I’m just gonna do it and see what happens.” It 1. helps me keep an open mind with the song and 2. let’s me be more of who I am in that very point in time which helps me make a more honest and personal song.
What is your DAW of choice? Do you have any go-to plugins (synthesizers or effects)?
My DAW of choice is FL Studio. I’ve bounced around with DAWs quite a few times but I’ve always come back to FL Studio because it just suits my typically spontaneous writing style. I tend to use Sylenth 1, 3xosc, and Electra 2 a lot. Lately though I find myself going to Serum quite a bit. For effects, I am ALL about good reverb. Valhalla Room and Valhalla Vintage Verb are my favorites definitely.
Could you tell us about your Senses EP? How did the EP come about? What inspired it? What are some sound design tricks you used in the tracks on the EP?
Senses is pretty much the story of me realizing a lot about myself as an artist and also as a person and struggling with identity and creativity. Each song is one stage in those realizations and my own emotional reactions to them. The story, however, is told through a semi-fantasy medium. So I’ve created this world and these characters that represent these certain sentiments in each song.
Musically, my inspirations were all over the board. From things like Jon Hopkins to Phuture Doom. I also took some influence from some games I played a lot when I was a kid that fit the feeling of some songs. The EP came about after I quit an older alias and just wanted to start over. I actually started ‘Swoon’ around 3 years ago, but revisited it a little over a year later to revamp it into more of my style and put it in the EP. So technically the EP has been in production for almost 3 years. I went through a lot in those 3 years, but I don’t regret any of them. I’ve come a long way.
A lot of producers struggle with creative block, is this something that effects you, and if so, how do you get past it?
I definitely struggle with creative block constantly. It’s a very frustrating thing, but the best way I’ve found of getting rid of it is simply just going out and doing something else. Doing an activity outside or hanging out with a friend. Anything that will help you get out of your studio and live a little. Also showers are like idea machines for some reason.
What three pieces of advice would you give to producers who are just getting started?
1. Don’t overthink everything! When you think too much, you tend to distract yourself from the current ‘you’ and end up creating less honest and therefore less original work. I constantly make that mistake, but I’ve realized how important that truly is. Also when you think too much, you put yourself in a creative box. Be open and just do whatever you feel like.
2. Put in the time! If you get frustrated that you’re not as good as another artist, it’s only because they’ve put in more time and that is the truth. Just keep going on and putting in that time.
3. Have someone who is willing to tell you exactly how things are! Have a friend that you trust will give you honest feedback on your craft.
If you could work with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I don’t know if this would ever happen or even work out, but I would absolutely love to work with Damon Albarn. I adore him as an artist and just want to watch him work more than anything. However, a very close second is Troye Sivan. I love him and his style and I think we could make some really nice things together.
Where do you hope to see yourself and your career in 5 years?
Hopefully, living comfortably with my best friend, have a solid discography under my belt, and have had worked with Beyoncé at least once. In all seriousness, I don’t know. I have big but vague ideas of what I want. The details all seem to be blurred. I might be picky sometimes with my future, but it’s because I truly want the best for my art and I care about it so much.
I really enjoyed chatting with you Daydreamer! Where can people find you online?